Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{November 1, 2011}   ARC Review: Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

From Goodreads: After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you’ll never forget.


While it is true that this Cinderella story is like no other I’ve ever read, I have to admit that I’m a little biased.  This is a really interesting story, but I like my Cinderella story better.  It probably has to do with it being ingrained into my head from a young age, but even so, I found that I wasn’t as captivated by this novel as I wanted to be.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not a boring read, nor is it poorly written.  In fact, Lemon does a great job writing this story, from her prose to her pacing, she does a wonderful job creating a unique storyline and atmosphere for her readers.  And, while I personally didn’t care for most of the characters, save Ella and her knight, I think this was intentional on Lemon’s part. 

Cinder and Ella, while separate entities, complete each other as a whole.  Where Cinder is caring and compassionate, loving everyone and completely gullible, Ella refuses to let people walk all over her; she’s feisty and down to earth, dreaming of a better life.  They really are two parts of the whole, completing Cinderella, but what Lemon has done is remove them and make them two separate characters, which is interesting in and of itself.  Now, Cinder gets on my nerves.  Ella and I have a lot more in common, and Ella is the central character, so I connected with her much more readily that I did with Cinder, but even Ella has her moments when I thought, “wow, that was really mean.”  Obviously, on many occasions I groaned in terms of Cinder as her “nothing bad can ever happen” attitude is annoying, and as the reader, we know better.  The rest of the characters, however, really made me nuts.  The girls’ mother is content on wasting away, having lost her husband, leaving the other two siblings to wreak havoc on the house.  When you read the story, you’ll see what I mean by nuts.  I can’t fathom living in a house like theirs and, on multiple occasions, I wanted to slap them all…  It’s true, this isn’t anything like the Cinderella story that you and I know, and Lemon’s portrayal of the father’s disappearance, the mother giving up hope, and the prince being evil incarnate is a welcome change, though, in the end, I, personally, wasn’t really enchanted by it; the characters rubbed me the wrong way one too many times.  Two stars–mainly because of the characters though, not the writing itself. 

Cedar Fort has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on November 8, 2011.


Melliane says:

I’ve read this one a few time ago, and I think the same thing. I think it wasn’t a good idea to compare the two stories which are totally different.

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